Mount Clemens boasts ‘Best Water’ in state

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published October 4, 2012

MOUNT CLEMENS — Ever since Mount Clemens received loans for water improvements back in 1996, it has been the recipient of six awards for its efforts.

And last month, for the second time since 2003, the city claimed the title of Best Tasting Water in the state.

City officials were presented with a trophy by Michigan Section of the American Water Works Association Director Mark Coleman during a City Commission meeting on Oct. 1. The AWWA conducted the annual contest along with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Coleman said communities in five Michigan regions were asked to provide samples of their water during the first wave of judging over the summer. The contest was conducted by MDEQ drinking water staff engineer Gary Wozniak.

Next, winners were then selected in the five regions, and a final contest determined the state winner. Coleman said an expert panel of three judged the water on clarity, taste and odor.

The city has now received six regional Best Tasting Water titles — they received five in a span of seven years, 1997-2003 — and now two statewide Best Tasting Water titles.

“Since 1985 (when the contest started), Mount Clemens is the only community to win this title twice,” Coleman said.

Charles Bellmore, Mount Clemens’ director of utilities, said the awards started pouring in after they applied for and received low-interest loans for both water and sewer improvements.

“In fact, Mount Clemens was the first community in the nation to receive both water and sewer loans,” said Bellmore. “Over $2 million was spent at the drinking water plant making improvements to the tanks and filters, including addition of automatic controls to meet newly enacted Safe Drinking Water Act requirements.”

He said this most recent honor proves that his staff is well-trained and dedicated to providing a good-tasting, quality product. 

“The bottled water and home faucet filter industries depend on negative public perception of tap water to sell expensive home treatment units to residents in markets where perfectly safe city water supplies are present at a small fraction of the cost,” said Bellman. “The price of a 12-ounce glass of Mount Clemens tap water is still less than a penny. It tastes great, and Mount Clemens has the trophy to prove it.”

Mayor Barb Dempsey said the award is a significant achievement.

“Everybody in Mount Clemens should be proud that we have the best water in Michigan,” she said.